Normal white people do white things because they enjoy them. Racist whites try to make white things social weapons.
The far-right in America, who hides their racism under the flag and white pride, tries to scare the rest of the rational white population into thinking everyone is out to destroy white culture.
They say: “If you stand up for Black Lives Matter, you’re attacking whites! If you say I’m fetishizing Asian girls you’re calling my kind a Nazi! If you protest against white supremacy, you’re attacking white culture!”
Well, that says it right there. To white supremacists, racism and white culture are intertwined in a death grip. But that’s in their world. However, even minority activists, including me, have wondered at a time, “Is it possible to separate white supremacy from white culture when the two have operated hand in hand throughout history?”
- No, you can’t separate the presence of the two. They’ve always existed together, either in the same person or very close in the same white community.
- But yes, white racism can absolutely be separate from white culture.
Why? Because white racism is based on a white person feeling inferior and using the violence of race to make themselves feel superior.
On the other hand, a perfectly contented white person, who does not need to use race to calm an inferiority complex, can enjoy their white culture and not have to resort to racial discrimination as part of being white.
Granted, ‘non-racist’ whites may benefit indirectly and sometimes be quietly complicit in racial violence as a member of a community, but their individual life choices to celebrate white culture should not be automatically lumped in with white supremacy. They may however need training on the line between private enjoyment of white culture and the public oppression of whiteness, which they inevitably merge into when they step out of the door.
But the main point here is that we should not let white racists get away with goading other decent white people into thinking all whites must be racist in order to preserve their white heritage and culture.
I have to admit I didn’t think it was possible, but it took my going to Korea and being a little bit more on my racial home turf to see it. Yes, this may be a case where you have to experience it, not read a research study on it.
Years ago in Seoul, I was invited to a party where families of American army officers would be in attendance. Not white expats in Korea. But a room with lots of real white people living in an American bubble in Korea. Yes, white! I had to steady my breathing.
As I stepped in the apartment, I immediately noticed two young white housewives in their late twenties and early thirties. And they were loud. Southern and loud. Laughing. Cooing. Giggling. Slugging wine. As I headed toward them, one yelled out to the crowd, “Put a bag over her head and do it for the country!” as the punchline of a joke whose beginning I couldn’t fathom.
“Sean, I’d like you to meet Amy and Amanda,” introduced our hostess.
“Hey, nice to meet you! I’m Amanda. And this is Amy.”
“Hi! How do you know the hostess?”
“Uh, we work together.”
“Well isn’t she the greatest cook?”
“Oh my god, yes,” immediately chimed the other. “Even better American food than stateside…”
Normal white people do white things because they like them. Racist white people use white things to make minorities feel excluded.
And off they went like motormouths just jabbering away like a radio set to a station of cheerful, upbeat pop music that wasn’t too soft and wasn’t too hard. I nodded and added a few polite comments and just listening put a smile on my face. Then, I was introduced to someone else.
Over the years, I got to know Amy and Amanda casually here and there we’d be at the same dinners and functions. And at least in my book, they proved to be indeed super white because we’d also become Facebook friends… and of course, our assumptions about people’s social media lives allow us to know them better than themselves. (I’m being sarcastic, but people seem to believe this.)
Nonetheless, they were mega white. Grilling near rivers. Bowling. Painting walls. Not only baking cookies, but frosting them. Crafting. Taking their leisure with beer on lawn chairs in the front yard. Casseroles with a shout out to their Italian grandmother’s recipe. Marshmallows always seemed to pop up where I thought they didn’t belong (like on yams?). But mostly ranch dressing on everything. They were living the white life to the full. And never once did I feel or see racism. Sure, maybe they could be out of my scope, but I’ve been able to diagnose racism in others with far fewer forensics.
Most of the white stuff they did seemed to be out of sheer joy, naturalness and generosity. In contrast, the same crafts, recipes and lawn sports are tinged with a mean streak, artificial pomp and exclusiveness in the hands of white racists. Normal white people do white things because they like them. Racist white people use white things to make minorities feel excluded.
So yes, I saw that it’s possible that for the most part, the exact same “such a white person’s thing” could be innocent or racist depending on the person doing it. Super white didn’t translate into super racist with Amy and Amanda because these were not insecure women. That’s the difference. They were extremely secure and grounded and fun people.
It’s not that they didn’t have any problems. That’s what made the observation poignant. Amy had insecurities about being looked at as lower class by wanting to become a hair stylist. (Yes, she had the Karen haircut down to a T but never acted like one.) Amanda, one time, at a restaurant, pitched in her credit card to pay the bill and said, “Try that. But I’m not sure. That card is on its last legs.” If that’s not the whitest way to say, “I have bad credit” I don’t know what is.
These women just like anybody else probably had their life worries about money, jobs and family. But they didn’t have to use racism to quell their pain and fear. It wasn’t in the formula for them.
If white culture were a knife, it would be viewed only as a weapon by white racists and militant minority activists. Meanwhile, normal, balanced white folk most likely view knives (white culture) as part of a 20-piece dinner collection. Though it would be naive to believe a person could only use it one way or the other, most people can live their whole lives without using knives (or white culture) to harm.
Again, we can talk another time about how on a macro level how being white automatically makes you part of a racist structure, but there is a difference when it comes to the possibility of allowing white people to enjoy their amalgamated white American culture without guilt. Not only does this allow white people to have their nice things and be proud of them, non-whites can specifically call out white racism with more specificity and power when we don’t have to muddle with conflicting definitions.
Amy and Amanda probably never knew the intangible gift they left me with – a real life example of two of the whitest ass girls I’ve ever seen in my life being so white in everything they do but not really having racism be any part of their preferences in life.